“You’ve got to be mistaken.”
“His kids (adult kids) will be devastated if they find out.”
“How can you be sure this happened to you? That it was him?”
“We were never with him during evening time nor did we spend the night.” (As if sexual abuse can only happen at night.)
“You realize being vocal about this hurts all of us, right?”
I heard all of these at various times since I came out with what happened to me as a child. These are not reactions from cold-hearted, distant people. They are the reactions from loving, caring, heart-centered women in my family. Hurting them was the last thing I wanted to do but if I kept my secret to my grave, I would not have been honoring Little Kiersten, who carried the weight of all of the abuse for 35 years.
I soon realized protection of self and others (others that were not me) was the underlying motivation for the disbelieving responses. And I had every right to be angry as hell.
There I was, then age forty, stunned that I was being questioned the way I was, even after all the evidence proving my visions were pretty spot on. At least according to decorated police detectives with whom I volunteered helping to solve cold cases. Granted, no one wants to believe anything like this can happen to a child yet every year 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused. And these are the “reported” numbers. What about all of the kids like me who didn’t report it because they blocked it from their memory until years later? We are apparently just the ones who “want attention,” according to many who don’t believe in repressed memories.
Let me tell ya, if I wanted attention, this would not be the way I’d go about it.
I know in my heart NO ONE could have stopped what happened to me. He was going to do what he did, like he did to so many and he was damn good at getting away with it. It’s the hallmark of the sociopath, many of whom are charming, good looking, funny, and easy going. The man who sexually abused and raped me between the ages of 3 and 6 admitted to sleeping with over 100 women, young and old, during his decade-long marriage to a family member. I know I’m not the only child he abused, as well. “It didn’t matter the age, Kierstie,” said one of my favorite people who is now in spirit. “It was and is the cycle of abuse, generation after generation. You’re a cycle breaker.”
FUCK. I’m a cycle breaker. A cycle breaker who swears when talking about the weight of being a cycle breaker.
Now, if you’ve read my story or watched my TEDx talk, you know that it took channeling information (visions) about other children who had been sexually abused and murdered and subsequent validation from detectives around the country to make me take visions of what I endured seriously. I didn’t ask for any of the visions but they came anyways and when I finally realized I, too, was in the same unfortunate club, it made more sense why I was having the visions of others in the first place. It was scary and emotional, to say the least. I also had to endure gynecological surgery at age 19 to repair what I now know was scar tissue damage from being raped as a very young child. This is not something that’s uncommon, according to fellow survivors who endured abuse around the same age.
My first sexual experiences were terrifying and odd. I automatically went into a very submissive, “just lay there” role. It was what I knew to do even though I didn’t remember it then. Later, I would go on to have panic attacks when any kind of weight was on me.
The “proof points” just kept stacking up:
But back to what happens when you shed light on a dark family secret. Most times, I can quell the anger I still feel because I know their reactions are very human, very self-protective, and at the core, shame-based. I know they love me and would love to make this all go away for me and for them any way they could. It doesn't make me love them any less.
But sometimes, the anger rises. I think about how I would react if one of my kids came to me years from now talking of abuse inflicted by a distant relative. I would do whatever I could to help them and I would be hell bent on advocating for them. You'd have a hard time keeping me from going after (via communication or in person) the person who inflicted the abuse. I would campaign on behalf of my kids sharing what I could have maybe done differently and signs to be aware of in cases of childhood sexual abuse. Hell, I would own it all even though, from a spiritual perspective, I do understand that some things cannot be avoided in life. I naively believed that specific family members who were also hurt by him the most would rise up and want to get to the bottom of it with me—that they, too, would want justice for what he took from me. (My parents have been wonderful—they have shared and acknowledged what happened and cheered on my TEDx talk.) Instead, I realized that everyone has their own capacity to go deep and for many, a couple inches below the surface is about all they can go. Maybe it’s generational? Maybe it’s part of the non-cycle breaker DNA. I’m not really sure, but here are three things I’ve learned from my experience sharing what happened to me with my family:
To all of the warrior cycle breakers out there, I’m hugging you. It’s not an easy road but it’s a necessary one if we are going to eradicate this type of abuse for generations to come. Your voice and your story are important and whether you know it or not, in addition to helping heal your inner child, you’re literally helping heal generations of pain by shining a light on yours.
Keep shining and know you have an F-bomb throwing friend in your corner in Flagstaff, AZ who believes you and is grateful for your voice. After all, you’re one of the strongest people on earth—you’re a fucking cycle breaker.
* If you'd like to share your story, I welcome it. Please either share it in the comments or send me a message on the contact page.